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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Signs Order to End His Own Family Separation Policy Does Nothing for Families Already Split Apart; Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; President Trump Campaigning After Singing Executive Order on Family Separations; Texas Charity Operates Dozens Of Shelters, Schools For Separated Children, CEO Earns Millions; WSJ Publisher Of National Enquirer Subpoenaed In Michael Cohen Probe. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired June 20, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin with breaking news in the border crisis that could add insult to the ongoing injury being suffered by more than 2,300 kids who've been torn from their parents at the border. It's a problem, as you know, that the president and his administration caused by choosing back in April to enforce existing border laws in a way that other presidents have not until now. That's a demonstrable fact. No matter what you might hear from anyone in the administration.
As you also know, it followed kids in holding pens, kids in desert detention centers, kids taken hundreds, even thousands of miles away from their parents, young children, toddlers even, housed in so-called tender age facilities. The president has refused to take responsibility for his role in any of this, something on full display today, signing an executive order barring family separation.
And during the ceremony, he deflected blame to other presidents dating back to Eisenhower for a problem, a three-month old problem, that he says only he has had the courage to solve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's been going on for 60 years. Sixty years. Nobody's taken care of it. Nobody's had the political courage to take care of it. But we're going to take care of it. It's been going on for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that's not true. His administration enacted the zero tolerance policy that caused this whole blow-up. And now, just hours after the signing ceremony, we are learning some troubling things about what comes next. Namely, CNN has learned today's executive order does not call for the reuniting of children who have so for been separated from their parents.
Kaitlan Collins has the breaking news on that. She joins now us from the White House. So, what exactly is going to happen to the more than 2,300 kids who
are already in detention centers tonight?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, to put it bluntly, nothing. This executive order that the president signed in the Oval Office today painting it as this long-term solution is really not. It's more of a stop gap and nothing -- there is no language in the text of this executive order that's about four pages or so that says anything about these children who have already been split up from these parents, these 2,300 or so that we know of children, they will not be immediately reunited with their families because their parents are going to remain in federal custody as these immigration proceedings go on.
So, they are not grandfathered in in way in this language that the president instructed today to keep these families together if they are detained while coming across the border. That doesn't apply to these people. And so, the president is painting this as a long-term solution, but officials from the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security are essentially saying that these kids who have been separated from their parents won't be immediately reunited and will be up to the parents to talk to HHS and find a way to get back to be reunited with their children.
But there is no language in here, Anderson, that reunites them with their families.
COOPER: Right. The Justice Department I understand is saying that the child separation policy might actually resume in less than three weeks. Is that correct?
COLLINS: That's exactly right. And that's because of this agreement that they cannot hold kids for longer than 20 days. Nothing that the president signed today changes any of that.
So, unless, they go to court and this ruling is overturned and they can instead hold these kids for longer than 20 days, then that's not going to change and the officials recognize that today, admitted as much, saying that essentially after 20 days, it could go back to what it was before the president signed this executive order.
Now, Anderson, the president did not have to sign an executive order to put an end to the separation of these families on the border. That is the direct result of a policy that his attorney general enacted not that long ago, so essentially all he had to do was pick up the phone in the Oval Office and call the attorney general to put an end to this. But instead, our sources told us the president wanted to seem more decisive and instead of not make it seem like he was quietly reversing his policy, which is why he signed this executive order that, frankly, Anderson, seems to be a band-aid for this entire issue.
COOPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, thanks.
As we said at the top, some of the kids in question now in limbo aren't in all those facilities you've been seeing in Texas. Hundreds are being taken to places scattered across the country, far from the border, and in many cases, far from their parents. Three airlines today said they're asking the government not to put these kids on their flights. Nonetheless, more than 200 kids have already landed at a shelter in New York's East Harlem.
Our Jason Carroll is there, as well. He joins us now.
Is there any indication from people running this facility that they've been given any kind of guidance as to what happens to these kids now?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look -- in the short term, what's going to happen to these children, Anderson, they're going to stay with their foster families. They will go home at night. Stay with their foster families. Come back to facilities like this one, the Cuyahoga Center during the day.
In the long term, though, there is no answer, no plan in place in terms of what will happen to the 239 children and babies, some as young as nine months old, that are being housed at this particular facility.
[20:05:02] Even tonight, the deputy mayor of Health and Human Services here in New York City says her office has received no plan from the federal government in terms of what to do with these 239 children. This is an issue, a problem that's facing not just the children at facilities at this one here in New York but throughout the country -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, how did the kids there end up there? Because they crossed the southern border, which is obviously nowhere near New York.
CARROLL: Right, right. Well, if you listen to New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, he brings up one example, a 9-year-old. He calls him Eddie from Honduras. He came up here on a bus.
Most of those children came here he says by bus, long hours on a bus. Many of them arriving here with lice, bedbugs, chickenpox. He says some of the conditions that they may have received in transit on the way here.
So, many of them not in great condition. Many of the children suffering from the mental anguish of being separated from their parents. But imagine the shock, Anderson, this mayor had that he expressed today, shock and anger at finding out that 239 children were here. He says his office, the city, had no idea until today that these children were even here -- Anderson.
COOPER: So you said that they -- they're in foster care and go back to -- at night and they go back to the facility during the day, or are they actually being housed at that facility?
CARROLL: No. That's correct. I mean, they're housed here during the day. They have classes. They receive care from social workers. They go home at night, with foster families that they've been placed with. That's how this facility here operates. But, again, remember, there are several facilities like this one, similar facilities like this one here in New York City. But I can't express enough the anger that this mayor had because he says the federal government, federal officials simply are not communicating with city officials. That is why they found out here today after this video came out, showing some of these young girls being taken to this facility late at night. That's how the mayor's office got wind that there were some children here.
He comes here and comes to find out it's not just some. It's 239 children that are here. And the frustration that he has is that the federal government is telling facilities like this one not to share with them how much information they have about these children, the number of children that are here at this particular facility, this facility finally agreeing to cooperate. But can't express that enough, the anger that this mayor had finding out this many children here in his city right under his nose and they had no idea.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
The president acted today in the face of Republican paralysis of two proposed immigration bills, each containing language on keeping families together. And again, just as a reminder, the president didn't really need Congress to act as he demonstrated today. That however was quickly pushed aside by the breaking news.
Joining us now with his take on it, the senator and former presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders.
Senator Sanders, thanks for being with us.
I'm wondering your reaction is, first of all, to the news of 2,300 kids who have been separated from their parents will not be reunited with them, and it's not clear when or how they will be or if.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You know, Anderson, there's almost nothing that one can say. The idea of tearing little children from the arms of their parents, putting them into detention cages, and then making a big deal about an executive order which may do absolutely nothing for these 2,300 children is literally beyond belief.
Trump once again has lied. He told the American people that this was a policy created by Congress, could only be addressed by Congress. He was lying. Of course, it was a crisis that he created and attempted to address today. But he didn't go anywhere near far enough.
So, where we are right now is close to 2,400 kids are still separated from their parents. There is no understanding as your reporters have indicated when these children will be reunited. Furthermore, we have a situation where the Trump administration now their solution is to provide indefinite detention. So, I presume that for the new people who are arrested, they will be with their children in jail for an indefinite period of time because the Trump administration wants to undo the Flores settlement which focuses on the needs of children and limits the 20 days, the number of days that children can be in jail. Bottom line to all of this is that this country needs fundamental and comprehensive immigration reform, which deals with this, this issue, which deals with the DACA crisis and which deals with the 10 million people who are undocumented in this country right now.
[20:10:13] COOPER: The president is saying he wanted a longer term solution and that's what he was holding out for. He obviously was blaming the Democrats.
Do you believe this executive order was anything other than a public relations band-aid?
SANDERS: Look, you know, I say this often and I don't want to be misunderstood. It -- you know, I don't mean to be overly partisan but we have a president who lies all of the time, including on this issue.
Just the other day, you correct me if I'm wrong. He was saying I can't do anything about it. This is congressional action that is needed. Well, it turned out, of course, that was not true.
He created the crisis. He could end the crisis. So, I think what has happened is when you have millions of Americans, my phone, my phone lines in Burlington and here in Washington are bouncing off the hook. People in Vermont that I know, people all over this country, cannot believe that in the United States of America we are putting these kids into detention camps.
So there's outrage. You have Laura Bush talking about this action being eerily reminiscent of what happened to Japanese-Americans during World War II. That is from the wife of a conservative Republican president. You have the pope speaking out on this issue. You have leaders all over the world saying what is going on in the United States of America?
So, I think Trump had to respond to that. But clearly, he sees from his political perspective that being anti-immigrant is a winner for him politically. I don't think it is but that's his logic. And he will continue to mount a very strong anti-immigrant effort.
By the way, in the midst of all of this stuff, so we don't get distracted, we had the leadership in the Republican leadership in the House talking now after giving a trillion dollars in tax break dos the top 1 percent coming up with a budget to make massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
So -- go ahead. I'm sorry.
COOPER: You talked about the Flores settlement which limits how long kids can be held in detention to 20 days. Is it clear to you -- I mean, the administration clearly wants to reverse that in the courts. It is not clear they're going to be able to do that. The judges very easily could say, no. That's the court ruling was. That court ruling is going to hold.
If, in fact, they're not able to change that ruling, is it clear to you what happens? Do the separations resume? You know, if the court says, no, the Flores settlement remains, you can't hold these kids more than 20 days, therefore, do they go back to separating them?
SANDERS: Well, that's -- you're asking a good question of which nobody knows the answer, I think. What you're suggesting is if the -- as I understand it is if the parents remain imprisoned and the children cannot be held more than 20 days, what happens to those kids?
SANDERS: And you're right. I don't think anybody knows the answer. But it may well mean that those kids will then be separated from their parents.
And here's the absurdity. I think we have a mechanism now to keep track of those families, to make sure that they get to court when they should get to court. And, by the way, do that for much lower cost to the taxpayers than imprisoning parents and children.
COOPER: You're talking about ankle monitoring or even house arrest in some cases which is --
SANDERS: Right, there are --
COOPER: -- a lot cheaper.
SANDERS: Yes, that's right. Certainly, and let's not forget. I mean, the bottom line of this thing, I want everybody to appreciate the trauma. I suspect permanent trauma to a child of 3 or 4 who cannot speak English who is suddenly taken away from his or her parents, put into a private detention center surrounded by people in uniform. My God. You don't have to be a child psychologist to know that the damage that that has done.
And your question is a good one. We don't know what happens if the Flores settlement is maintained. Will Trump release the parents with the children or will he keep them separated?
COOPER: In terms of what is happening in Congress, where I said the administration insists of placing responsibility, there's a Republican -- Republicans call a compromise bill on the House, which Republicans are actually divided on. There's also a more narrow Republican bill in the Senate.
Have you seen any piece of legislation that you could support that has any chance of passing both chambers?
SANDERS: No. I think what the Republicans -- there are two pieces of legislation. One is bad. One is worse.
And here's the irony. The irony is that the American people overwhelmingly, poll after poll after poll, want comprehensive immigration reform. The American people are appalled at the separation of children from their parents.
[20:15:01] The American people want differing opinions, but a majority of the American people believe we should have comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship.
So, that is the issue that some of us in the Senate have worked on and yet we're not certainly getting any support from the president who sees anti-immigration as I guess a good political strategy for him.
COOPER: Is the president -- finally, I mean, is he using this to try to get funding on the border wall? I mean, is that sort of a bottom line for him? Because clearly, he felt, you know, he didn't get the funding that he wanted earlier and there were obviously concerns raised by some of his supporters that he was looking weak on immigration, on illegal immigration.
SANDERS: Yes, maybe, maybe. I don't know. But I think more importantly, you have a president who has given tax breaks to billionaires, who wants to cut programs that working people desperately need and he thinks as authoritarian types all over Europe believe, that if you foment anger against immigrants and show how strong and tough you are on those little children, that it will get you votes in elections.
I think that's pretty pathetic. But I think ultimately that is his strategy.
COOPER: Senator Sanders, appreciate your time. Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead, two legal views on tonight's breaking stories. Professors Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley join us.
Also, other breaking news, new reporting on one of the women claiming she had an affair with President Trump, the tabloid that bought and killed her story. Who else is involved? Michael Cohen.
[20:20:06] COOPER: Last night on the broadcast, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz said the president could reverse his -- the president is speaking tonight, actually, let's -- the president's speaking tonight. We're going to be monitoring this.
He's in Duluth, Minnesota. We're obviously going to be seeing if he talks about executive order that he signed today. We'll continue to monitor that. He was on the road again, this time for a campaign speech. That's what he's making right now in Duluth, Minnesota.
Before the speech, the president told members of a roundtable that Minnesota had lots of problems with illegal immigration. He lost the state in 2016 by nearly 2 percentage points.
Our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is there for us tonight.
Jeff, has the president spoken at all so far about the executive order? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he did.
Just a few moments ago actually, President Trump talked about his executive order. But I can tell you if you weren't paying close attention, you almost would have missed it.
President Trump, of course, likes to talk about a lot of his accomplishments. He likes to talk about the economy, talked a lot about North Korea. But the executive order that he signed today which is the biggest reversal he's done since he's been in office created the biggest consternation.
Anderson, he summed it up in about one sentence or so. He said today, I signed an executive order to keep families together, but he assured this crowd the borders would remain as tough as always, and then he changed the subject. So, Anderson, it's clear tonight at least so far in this rally, the president is not eager to draw attention to the executive order he signed today.
But I can tell you, Anderson, after we've done some reporting throughout the day, one of the things that pushed him the most to change his mind was that he was losing the loyal support of his most loyal allies like Senator Orrin Hatch. Other Republicans who are always with him, suddenly they weren't with him. So, it's the combination of that as well as the images that Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump talked to him about to urge him to change his mind and the fact they know it's bad politics heading into a midterm election, Anderson.
COOPER: Interesting. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much. We'll continue to monitor the president's event.
President Trump says the signing of that executive order ending the policy of family separations at the border didn't mean an end to the administration's zero tolerance policy, as Jeff mentioned. Of course, that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
With me now to talk about the fallout is Reverend Darrell Scott, a supporter of the president, and Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist, not a Trump supporter, and author of the upcoming book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
So, Rick, do you believe the executive order issued in good faith given that it doesn't apply to the 2,300 kids in question?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, no. I think, Anderson, what we have seen here is one of the greatest political defeats of this presidency so far. This was done in a panic. The president made a very big bet on the program of being something that the Republican base would love and embrace and his allies would get behind him on and it's a bet he lost, he lost it badly.
And he got beaten like a rented mule by these images of these kids being separated from their kids and he signed this in a panic today. The text of it even, the first paragraph, the first section of it, you know, was this long sort of whine about Donald Trump basically being wronged here. And I think this is something he did in a very quick, very panicked moment.
He had convinced himself and the supporters convinced themselves inside the White House that this was going to be a big political winner and it turned out to be a big political stinker.
COOPER: Reverend Scott, does it make sense to you, the administration has been saying for weeks there's nothing they can do about it, Congress has to be the ones to do something about this, the president couldn't pick up a phone and reverse the policy? But then, all of a sudden, the president today signs this executive order and seems to do just that, even though it doesn't apply to the 2,300 kids who are right now in custody.
REV. DARRELL SCOTT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: First of all, the president said from day one he did not like the idea of the children being separated. So, it's something he's been contemplating for so long. And reply to that other part of the statement --
COOPER: Wait, that's not true. I mean, this was sold early on. General Kelly was talking about this head of homeland security.
SCOTT: The president said --
COOPER: A year ago it was a deterrent. Taking of kids from their parents would act as a deterrent.
SCOTT: It should be a deterrent. I wouldn't put my child in harm's risk. I mean, we're absolving the parents from all culpability from these actions. I don't see anyone decrying the fact that these parents putting the children at risk.
However, the president said from the very beginning it's very unfortunate. He didn't like children being separated from their parents. You had crying Chuck Schumer saying all the president has to do is pull out an ink pen and sign the order. Then when he does sign the order, you have the same ones that cried about the order being signed complaining about the order that was signed. I don't get it.
COOPER: My question is, though, how come the White House is been saying all along, oh, no, no, no, the president can't just sign an order, the president can't make a phone call about this. Today the president did just that.
SCOTT: The order that he signed -- apparently he can't just sign an order because the order that he signed everyone is saying it's incomplete order, that it's not enough.
[20:25:02] So, you know, he did what he could do at this time. And we'll see what happens later on.
COOPER: Rick, does that make sense to you?
WILSON: It does not, Anderson. I'll tell you why. The executive order he signed today was a response to a political panic.
SCOTT: No. You can't say that. WILSON: Donald Trump made a very big bet --
SCOTT: You can't say that.
WILSON: Reverend, I'm sorry. I didn't interrupt you.
COOPER: Go ahead.
WILSON: This was a very large panic. They made a huge political bet. Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, the president, Secretary Nielsen, were all out there saying this can't be done by executive order, and they were -- and in the case of Bannon and Miller, were both bragging about how politically great this was for the president and how this was going to rev up the Republican base and people were going to love this because it's President Trump being tough on the border.
And that -- the features of this plan were Donald Trump's design. This was something Donald Trump wanted.
WILSON: He got a program out there that deliberately separated children from their parents. Young children. Very young children.
WILSON: They have to go into tender -- they have to go --
COOPER: Let's not interrupt each other. Rick --
WILSON: They have to go into tender age centers. So this was a plan that Donald Trump executed. It was planned out by Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and people around him.
WILSON: I'm sorry, Reverend, you can't deny this. This is a truth and facts and the history of what happened.
SCOTT: This has been going on for decades.
COOPER: OK, Reverend Scott, OK, OK.
SCOTT: This has been going on for decades. It began with them showing those fake photographs of children in cages that were placed in cages under the Obama administration. It's simply a talking point. It's a deflection because of the success --
WILSON: Reverend, if it was wrong then, then it's wrong now.
SCOTT: OK. But if it was wrong then, you should have cried about it then like you're crying about it now.
WILSON: I did.
SCOTT: You waited until Trump got in office. So, you're trying to use it as a political maneuver simply to have something --
WILSON: Reverend, you need to be careful about.
COOPER: Hold on.
Let Reverend Scott -- let me ask you -- Reverend Scott, let me just ask you --
SCOTT: The most last thing (ph) is political panic with Donald Trump, he doesn't panic.
WILSON: Yes, there is.
SCOTT: He doesn't panic. Doesn't panic.
COOPER: Reverend Scott -- let me just ask you a question. You support, I assume, what the president did today. You're a big supporter of the president and I assume you support what he did today. Do you believe separating the kids from their parents is a humane thing to do?
SCOTT: Listen, separating --
COOPER: Just --
SCOTT: Let me answer. Separating children from law-breaking parents is a standard operating procedure in the black community. I've had family members that have had month-old babies separated from them for breaking laws. We see that all the time in the black community.
Lawbreakers who break the law and have a child in their custody when that law is broken, the kids are taken into custody, taken into child services or whatever.
So, this outrage here is something new to me because once again in the black community, we see this all the time.
Now, the question is, what should be done with the children when they're apprehended? Do I put them in jail with the parent? Do I let them walk down the street by themselves? What do I do?
So, that's what the real question is but something has to be done. These parents --
COOPER: Those aren't the only -- reverend --
SCOTT: They know they're breaking the laws and they're bringing their children with them in the commission of the crime. What do you do when you apprehend a parent with the child?
COOPER: Well. Reverend, what past administrations have done, Republican and Democratic, is --
SCOTT: Lock them in cages. COOPER: No. Actually release them and ask them to come back to
courts and 75 percent of them would.
SCOTT: Come on now. If that's the case -- listen. It's hard to get people to break -- speeding tickets to come back to court. You think you're going do catch somebody committing a crime and let them go and tell them to come back to court and they're going to come back? Come on now.
COOPER: According to statistic, well, according to statistics, Reverend, 75 percent of them would.
SCOTT: What statistics? Where are you getting this from?
COOPER: The ones that are --
SCOTT: Listen. You can't --
COOPER: -- put out by the Department of Justice.
SCOTT: OK. Anderson, what you're telling me is this. We're trying to sneak into the country illegally.
COOPER: You can talk over all you want, you asked what statistics. I'm telling you, the ones put out by the Department of Justice.
SCOTT: Anderson, you sneak into this country illegally. And you get caught.
COOPER: Now you're ignoring that?
SCOTT: And so, they let you loose in this country illegally and take you on your good faith word to show up to court. To do what? Get deported? Come on now.
COOPER: I'm telling you, the Department of Justice -- you can say come on now, all you want. I'm telling you, the Department of Justice says 75 percent return.
SCOTT: Seventy-five percent of the ones that they're aware of. You can't tell me -- I don't believe that. Department of Justice is wrong then.
COOPER: OK. Reverend Scott, Rick Wilson, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up next, more reaction to the president's executive order and the fine print that could contain from, and I really mean this time, Professors Dershowitz and Turley. We'll be right back.
[20:33:16] COOPER: The president is defending the executive order he signed, even as it's becoming clear, may do nothing off for the 2,300 kids separated under the policy the order is supposed to reverse. Perspective now from Harvard Law School's Alan Dershowitz and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley.
Professor Dershowitz, the fact that the executive order doesn't help any of the more than 2,300 kids who are already been separated from their families, does it seem to the administration, the president's actually thought out this policy?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, I don't know. I know he should be saying three things. There are three absolutes. Number one, no separation of parents and children. Number two, no detention of any child more than 20 days and number three, immediate (INAUDIBLE) who are now (INAUDIBLE) those are the three absolutes (INAUDIBLE) work within those three (INAUDIBLE). And if he really wants --
COOPER: We're having a hard time hearing you. We are going to try to fix your microphone. We're going to go to Professor Turley just for now.
Professor Turley, I mean, the -- Professor Dershowitz was saying about the 20 days that goes back to the Flores settlement, which says kids can't be held in detention for more than 20 days. Is it clear to you from a legal standpoint if the administration can't get that court order reversed, that settlement reversed, is it possible that these kids who theoretically would be held with their families moving forward for 20 days would then be separated?
JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It's absolutely a possibility certainly. The -- if you follow the Flores consent agreement, they can only hold these kids for 20 days. And so you have a choice, and this is just kicking the can down the road. So, you reunite the family. You can -- the clock is ticking. If it goes beyond 20 days, you either release the entire family which is similar to the Obama policy that the president wants to change, or you, once again, separate the family and send the child into some type of custodial care.
[20:35:16] I doubt it that a judge is going to change this earlier consent decree. I mean, this is a type of buyer's remorse motion that you sometimes get from a party that says, now, we want to change what we agreed to. It's a -- the time is passed for you to appeal that decision. So I think they're going to have a fairly hostile or certainly uncooperative response from this judge.
COOPER: I think we have Professor Dershowitz. Professor, you were talking about the three things that you believe should happen. Do you think this really change -- the executive order today really changes anything, and is it clear to you why the administration has for days and weeks have been saying, look, only Congress can do something on this and then seem to reverse themselves today and suddenly, the president signed this executive order?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, maybe that's because he listened to us last night. I mean, clearly, he had the power to sign this executive order. And he has the power to say to his Justice Department and to his Homeland Security three absolutes (ph). No separation, reunification (INAUDIBLE) as it (INAUDIBLE) remember that he complained now (INAUDIBLE) he said why doesn't he get a break, why (INAUDIBLE) --
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, I'm sorry, we can't -- we're having trouble hearing you.
Professor Turley, I mean, it addresses the separation of families going forward or at least seems to. Does it really change anything this executive order today from a legal standpoint?
TURLEY: Not really. There was no requirement that they separate the family, as abundantly clear from this executive order. But it doesn't change anything in a sense that you still have the binding Flores agreement and so we are going to have the same question in 20 days. And this is what's so concerning because this is eerily reminiscent of what we saw with the travel ban, where it seemed like people in the White House were stamping on the accelerator before they look at the map. I mean, there's a lot of preparation that needs to be done when you're going to make this type of change.
Now, in fairness to the Trump administration, Trump ran on a much more enhanced enforcement of immigration. He wants to shift the paradigm essentially from the civil proceedings to the criminal proceedings. And the impact of that is that you run right into Flores. Now, there -- it is also true that we did separate families before the Trump administration. This is not a new problem. But when he shifted to the criminal enforcement so heavily, it magnified those numbers to the point that we're dealing with today. And the fact that there didn't seem to be a lot of preparation here, once again, it's a certain pattern for the administration and it's baffling.
COOPER: Well, even under the executive order, I mean, it calls on the defense department to come up with housing. It's not clear right now what sort of facilities or if there are enough facilities to house families together.
TURLEY: Yes, I think that people need to remember one thing that they -- in relying too much on Flores. The Flores deals with holding these kids essentially in detention or a form of incarceration. The administration could really put a wedge into that distinction by moving the kids to things like military facilities, where it is essentially like home confinement or they could use, as you've mentioned earlier on the program, electronic bracelets for tracking.
But, this issue is going to present some new issues -- some new elements. Now, the one thing that the administration really needed and may not get is new legislation. If there's new legislation, that consent decree can be viewed as either moot or these underlying circumstances change. Those are all traditional reasons for the court to look again at the consent decree. But if there's no new legislation, you're going to have to go to this court with essentially the same legal position. But you just don't like what you agreed to earlier as the Justice Department.
COOPER: Professor Turley, appreciate it. And our apologies to Professor Dershowitz on the audio problem. With all these immigrants, shelters are being opened up, someone is bound to be making money.
Coming up, we'll tell you who it seems it is right now.
[20:43:18] COOPER: So with all these undocumented children being housed at all these facilities across the country, who exactly is behind the construction and upkeep of many of the facilities, we wondered.
Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin tonight has the details about the executive who runs one operation.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: He is suddenly at the center of the media storm surrounding the separation of migrant children from their families. That's because Juan Sanchez's charity, the non-profit Southwest Key organization, is housing half of those kids under U.S. government contracts. Sanchez and his organization provide shelter, schooling and reunification services for thousands. By most accounts, he's doing a pretty good job and by most accounts, he's making a small fortune doing it.
MARC OWENS, FORMER DIRECTOR, IRS NON-PROFIT DIVISION: The salary is extraordinary high for a charity, even a large charity.
GRIFFIN: Southwest Key operates 83 shelters or schools or detention centers across the country. The federal government contracts in the last 10 years add up to $1.5 billion. According to the latest tax filings in 2017, Sanchez's Southwest Key non-profit dating (ph) $1.47 million, doubling the $770,000 he made the year before. Is that a lot even for a nonprofit of his size? Apparently yes.
DANIEL BOROCHOFF, CHARITYWATCH: The head of the American Red Cross receives a $600,000 salary. It's a multibillion dollar charity that controls half of our blood supply, lead disaster provider. You've got this charity, the budget is like a tenth of its size, not nearly the size of the responsibilities, so that's -- it does appear high.
[20:45:02] GRIFFIN: Sanchez defends of his high salary, the early years were a struggle.
JUAN SANCHEZ, CEO, SOUTHWEST KEY PROGRAMS: When we started, we started with nothing, very low salaries, no health insurance, no 401(k)s, nothing. Overtime, our board then got to a point where they said, we are now in a position where we can pay you a decent salary.
GRIFFIN: That history doesn't quite match with the group's own tax filings. CNN went back to 1997, where Sanchez was paid nearly $130,000. Nearly every year since, except for two gap years, showing no income, his salary has increased. That doesn't even include his wife listed as the vice president who in the latest filings made an additional $262,000.
Marc Owens, for 10 years, run the IRS department on nonprofits, says, compensation should be similar to what Sanchez could make in the private sector. He sees nothing comparable, and questions why the board of Southwest Key voted to approve Sanchez current compensation.
OWENS: The board can award the president a salary. The issue is going to be whether the Internal Revenue Service or state attorney general believes that's excessive compensation.
GRIFFIN: The bigger question, says Owens, why is this private institution operating under taxpayer-funded government contracts considered a non-profit charity in the first place?
OWENS: It's unusual to see that kind of entity be tax exempt.
COOPER: And Drew joins us now. Southwest Key says that Sanchez's salary is actually below average for a non-profit size, right, this size?
GRIFFIN: Anderson, that's what they say but by Southwest Key's own analysis which they sent, Sanchez is the third highest paid CEO of 40 charities they are using to compare his salary with. He is in -- his compensation, I should say, is only behind the director of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the head of New York Museum of Modern Art, which is why these experts we are talking to says something appears out of balance.
COOPER: OK, right. Drew Griffin, thanks very much.
Up next, more breaking news, why federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating the $150,000 payment from the publisher of the National Enquirer, to this former Playboy Playmate who says that she had an affair with then citizen Donald Trump.
[20:51:30] COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that American Media Incorporated, which is the publisher of "The National Enquirer," among other publications, has been subpoenaed for records in the Michael Cohen probe. According to the journal federal prosecutors in New York are interested in AMI's payment of $150,000, the former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, in August of 2016 as part of their criminal investigation of President Trump's former personal attorney, citing people familiar with the matter.
Prosecutors in the Cohen case are investigating whether the payment for the rights to her story about a purported affair in 2006 with then citizen Donald Trump was part of an effort to suppress information that might damage his presidential campaign and in turn, possibly violate campaign finances laws.
Back in March, I talked about the possibility with Karen McDougal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why do you think they squashed the story?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, CLAIMS SHE HAD AN AFFAIR WITH TRUMP: Back then, or now?
MCDOUGAL: They didn't want to hurt him.
COOPER: You think it's because of a personal relationship with the guy who runs AMI is friends with Donald Trump?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, President Trump has denied an affair with McDougal. As for AMI, it's denied paying Ms. McDougal to suppress her story.
Meanwhile, an important footnote to this, according to two sources, Cohen's decision on cooperating with prosecutors is "a moving target" and any decision would be weeks away. One of the sources adds that it would depend on what, if any, charges Michael Cohen would be facing and what prosecutors are interested in.
Our chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins me now. Wrote an in- depth article for "The New Yorker" about AMI last summer. As someone who knows more than most about AMI and the inner workings, I wonder what you make, first of all, of this latest "Wall Street Journal" story.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not surprising that law enforcement would be interested in this subject. But it is also not clear whether any crime was committed by anyone here. David Pecker, who was the CEO of American Media, is a very close friend of Donald Trump. And when I interviewed him for "The New Yorker", he was very open in saying we use "The National Enquirer" to help Donald Trump get elected president, we were supportive of him.
He was a little less clear on what the basis was for the $150,000 payment, because he didn't say it was a catch and kill story. He didn't say that they bought the story in order not to -- in order to suppress it, to help the Trump campaign. He said that they had other interests in Karen McDougal to do fitness reporting. That I think was somewhat more questionable. But whether Donald Trump, David Pecker, Michael Cohen, anyone committed a crime here, is far from clear to me.
COOPER: We should say AMI forcefully denies that they engage in what's called catch and kill. But --
COOPER: -- employees there have told a different story, or former employees.
TOOBIN: Right, and it's very hard to see why they would have paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal for any other reason except to help Donald Trump, because even by "National Enquirer" standards, that's a good deal of money. It was right in the middle of the presidential campaign. And, they barely used her at all for any of the American Media magazines. So, it seems hard to imagine any other purpose for this payment, other than to suppress the story. But in fairness, David Pecker says that's not why they bought it.
[20:55:01] COOPER: If AMI and Michael Cohen did collude or have some sort of an agreement to suppress information about the president during the campaign, what kind of trouble could they actually be in?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, that's --
COOPER: Is it like a fine?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, it is conceivably a campaign violation in the sense that giving the money to Karen McDougal was in effect an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign. I think that that theory is a bit of a stretch. It's very hard to imagine how that could be prosecuted criminally by anyone. Possibly Federal Election Commission, some sort of fine. But I think it's important to emphasize here, we really don't know the full extent of the Michael Cohen investigation, why the Southern District of New York got a search warrant.
So I suspect this is sort of like the Trump -- like the Mueller investigation, sort of like an iceberg. Three-quarters is below the surface. So I'm just very hesitant to draw any conclusions about what the southern district is actually looking at here, other than the obvious, which is potentially a campaign finance violation.
COOPER: Which gets to the whole notion, I mean, the -- all the talk about Michael Cohen, and would he cooperate, would he flip, would he say something about the president, all of that is dependent on what, if anything, he's actually charged with.
TOOBIN: Absolutely. And in fairness to Michael Cohen, as well as in fairness to Donald Trump, I mean, you know, Michael Cohen has not been charged with any --
TOOBIN: -- crime at all. Now, what we do know is that the Southern District of New York got a search warrant to search his offices, which means at a minimum, they had probable cause to believe, a magistrate concluded that there was probable cause that evidence of a crime took place there.
Plus, it's very unusual for U.S. attorneys to get search warrants for lawyers' offices. So it's probably something more than probable cause. But that's really just speculation on our part. And in fairness to Cohen, we should just point out that he hasn't been charged with anything. And I certainly can't point to any crime that he could be charged with at this point.
COOPER: Right. Jeff, thanks very much, Jeff Toobin.
Up next, our breaking news on President Trump's executive order. New reporting on how this actually will not impact kids who are currently being held. More on that, ahead.